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The Communist - Central Caucus faction - Feb 1922


The Communist: Official Organ of the Communist Party of America (Section of the Communist International)
"Communist Party of America" of the Central Caucus faction, underground organization behind the United Toilers of America
Vol. 1, No. 7 [Actually vol.1, no. 1 for this new group]
February 1922
This publication is listed as #51 in Walteer Goldwater's "Radical Periodicals in America, 1890-1950" (1964). Note also that the publication he claims as #50 does not actually exist.

Debut issue of the official organ of the splinter "Communist Party of America" formed in the middle of January 1922 as the end result of a split of the unified Communist Party of the America (Section of the Communist International) which took place late in October 1921. This publication carries forward the design and numbering system of its predecessor, the organ of the regular party (Goldwater #49), which was also published in New York City.
The "Central Caucus" is the self-appelation of the 3 person minority of the 1921 Central Executive Committee of the unified CPA -- Charles Dirba (Lettish Federation), John J. Ballam (American-born), and George Ashkenuzi (ethnic Jewish member of the Russian Federation). The group's "man in Moscow" at the time of the split was Oscar Tyverovsky (another ethnic Jewish Russian Federationist). This group split when two of their former comrades from the old Communist Party of America -- J. Wilenkin (Russian Federation) and Joseph Stilson (Lithuanian Federation) began voting with the 5 members of the former United Communist Party and making preparations for the organization's emergence from the underground through a "Legal Political Party" called the Workers Party of America.
This tactical change was viewed by the Central Caucus and its supporters as both dangerous for its forced exposure of party members to open scrutiny by the Bureau of Investigation and opportunistic for its perspective that electoral participation was an important for organizational growth. The tactic was also seen as a crass betrayal of fundamental principles in an effort to win the members of the Workers Council group (heavy in members from the Yiddish language "Jewish Federation") and the ideologically suspect "hall socialists" of the Finnish Federation.
The semi-autonomous position of the Federations themselves and the party jobs of its supporterswere also seen as coming under attack by the so-called "National Caucus" majority of the CEC. The resulting split of the Central Caucus, as this document indicates, was powered by strong majorities of the Lithuanian, Russian, Ukrainian, Lettish (Latvian), and Polish Federations, together with a minority of the Jewish Federation.

The founding convention of the splinter organization, a so-called "National Emergency Convention of the CPA" was held in conditions of complete secrecy in New York City from January 7 to 11, 1922. A total of 38 delegates were in attendance, representing a claimed membership of 4,408. It elected "J. Davis" (pseudonym not firmly identified) as Executive Secretary of the organization and adopted a new constitution for the group, published in this issue, and dispatched Johnny Ballam ("John Moore") to Moscow as its official representative, charged with arguing the party's case before the Communist International.
This splinter organization was forced by the Comintern to reunite with the regular CPA, a shotgun marriage formalized at the ill-fated Bridgman, Michigan convention of August 1922 (raided by federal and state authorities).

1. "Emergency Convention: The Fifth Convention of the Communist Party of America" (details of the Jan. 1922 founding convention).
2. Constitution of the CPA: Adopted at the Emergency Convention, January 1922.
3. Provisions for the Organization of Communist Party Nuclei in the Shops and Unions
4. "A Call to Action" (Statement of the CEC of the CPA).
5. Resolutons: Adopted at the National Emergency Convention of the CPA, January 7-11, 1922.
6. "The Communist Party of America and the Communist International," by John J. Ballam ("John Moore").
7. The "Workers" Party," unsigned.

DISTRICTS OF THE CPA (mentioned in this issue -- note: different than subsequent WPA-based districts)
District 1 -- Boston
District 2 -- New York City
District 3 -- Philadelphia
District 4 -- Cleveland
District 5 -- Chicago
District 6 -- Detroit
District 7 -- St. Louis
District 8 -- San Francisco
District 9 -- Seattle
District 10 -- Buffalo, NY
District 11 -- Pittsburgh
District 12 -- Minneapolis (combined into D5)

This document was scanned by Marty Goodman of the Riazanov Library Digitization Project. Extensive digital editing was conducted by Tim Davenport of Corvallis, OR. The issue is in the public domain by its virtue of its publication in the United States prior to 1923 and these digital images are likewise released into the public domain without restriction.

Collection folkscanomy_politics; folkscanomy; additional_collections


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